An Iowa high school ruled that several videos students took of another student, Levi Null, 13, who has Asperger's Syndrome and ADHD--doesn't "meet the criteria" for bullying and the school board President, Bob Lepley, says he stands by the principal's decision (via Gawker).
The students videotaped Null's involuntary movements without his knowledge or permission and posted them online with school computers. Further, they videotaped other kids hitting, smacking and teasing Null.
Cyberbullying is the use of cell phones, instant messaging, e-mail, chat rooms or social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and YouTube to harass, threaten or intimidate someone.
Though I personally did not view these videos (Melcher-Dallas high school claims they've all been taken offline and destroyed), the very existence of them is a cyberbullying tactic known as Videojacking: When someone videotapes a target without his knowledge/approval and uploads the video to a popular video-sharing websites.
Here is the news story on WHOTV. It is quite obvious to anyone that Null felt harassed, threatened and intimidated.
This school has set a dangerous precedent to refuse to categorize these students' behavior as cyberbullying. Moreover, they had an opportunity to re-evaluate their school policy to further define a tactic they clearly had no previous experiences with and update the policy to protect this student from mob-like behavior. But they didn't. That alone is hard to believe, but when, according to WHOTV, the students used school computers to upload these videos--there were still no consequences, I have to ask: is it any surprise that kids constantly report they feel unsafe at schools when so many adults on the other side of the Digital Divide are operating with an inadequate understanding of what they're up against?
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